A HEARTBROKEN father has pleaded for greater paramedic resources after his son died from a seizure with attending paramedics unable to administer a potentially life-saving drug.
Tom O'Connor's son, Kieran (32), suffered from severe epileptic seizures and went into a major fit at the family's Cork home on April 13.
However, because the attending paramedics were not trained and authorised to administer a powerful drug called Buccal Midazolam, one of the most potent anti-seizure drugs available, they had to use alternative treatments.
The paramedics were unable to stop the seizure before it killed the young man.
"People think that epilepsy won't kill you but it took my son's life," Mr O'Connor said.
"I just don't want any other family to go through our pain. When the paramedics arrived he was already beginning to turn black in colour."
Mr O'Connor said he understood the attending paramedics had Buccal Midazolam in their kit but were not trained or authorised to use it.
The drug is now considered one of the best ways to control prolonged and violent seizures with the UK including its use in their national guidelines for the treatment of severe epilepsy.
However, only advanced paramedics are allowed by the HSE to administer the drug.
"I don't know if it would have made a difference. But Kieran was treated with a drug like that before and it stopped his seizure within seconds," his father said.
He said his son suffered a major epileptic seizure in San Diego and paramedics were able to use powerful drugs to halt the fit within minutes.
Mr O'Connor added that his three daughters, Grainne, Brida and Orla, were present while desperate efforts were made to save their brother at the family's Shanagarry home in east Cork.
He said they would gladly have administered the drug themselves if they had known it was stored in the ambulance.
"It isn't as if this drug has to be injected... it comes in a form where it can be applied like a plaster to the inside of the mouth and is absorbed almost instantly," he said.
"We just don't know what might have happened," he said.
Kieran O'Connor's death will now be the focus of a Cork coroner's inquest.